Making Communication with Offshore Developers Work

Have you ever worked with an offshore vendor and felt like you never had the opportunity to meet with the people doing your development work? Did you feel like you were being shielded from your team because things weren’t going well?

Communication with offshore developers is just as important as communication with people on your in-house team.

So why is it so hard? Agile coach Lorraine Pauls Longhurst writes in CIO that, “Due to the lack of face-to-face communication, cultural differences and time zone issues, the developers start to misunderstand requirements. In an attempt to close the communication gap, the product owner starts to use more written communication, which causes more misunderstandings.”

So the key here according to Longhurst is face-to-face communication, and from our experience we agree.

We have seen that teams perform better when, rather than working through a mid-management level, they collaborate through direct communication.

“All team members must be treated the same, and communicated with in the same manner, whether they are onshore or offshore,” says Longhurst.

Project Manager Mubeen Bolar insists that to open the door for successful communication, “The offshore team must have at least a 4 hour overlap with the US team, where they are available to answer questions or get clarifications.”

This will allow you to have daily meetings, which “gives everyone on the team a chance to interact, share ideas, and provide feedback on your own management of the project, which can help you become a better leader,” says Ann Diab, who has launched and nurtured several tech startups.

Check out the video above to see how EC Group makes sure that communication with offshore teams works.

Video Transcript: At the core of any high producing team, is good communication. And when it comes to good communication, the flatter the org. chart, the better. It’s no different with an offshore team. But often you’re put in contact with a project manager, or some mid-management position. And that’s to sheild you from the actual development team. Often this is to shield you from low performers or a lot of turnover on the development team side. You need to steer clear of any vendor who’s not going to put you in relationship with your actual development team. Because at the end of the day, people produce better work, and work better and smarter and faster, for people they actually know. It’s no different with an offshore team. What you want to aim for is an actual relationship with your development team and not just a project manager.

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